Joyce is charged with helping convicted murderers Richard Matt and David Sweat escape prison

By Tara Fowler
Updated June 23, 2015 07:30 AM

Lyle Mitchell, the husband of the prison worker who was arrested for allegedly helping convicted murderers Richard Matt and David Sweat escape, has spoken out for the first time.

Mitchell, whose wife Joyce allegedly had a physical relationship with one or both of the killers, was shocked by his wife’s involvement in their escape.

He told Matt Lauer that he’s not necessarily standing by his wife – but he still loves her. During the interview, he repeatedly said that “I don’t know what to think” about the charges against her.

Still, he denies claims that she was plotting to have him killed: “In my heart, I know she would not have hurt me,” he said.

“I was at the hospital with my wife [the night of the escape],” he told the Today show. “She said she was having chest pain. We had already left and I turned the cell phone on and I have messages from my kids saying state troopers are looking for us.

He added: “I just couldn’t believe it. She looked shocked. She said to me, ‘They really escaped.’ ”

They received a call from the state police the next day, which was when Joyce finally confessed her part in the killers’ escape.

“She said, ‘I’ve got something else to tell you,’ ” Mitchell recalled. “She said their plan was they wanted to kill you.”

He continued: “She told me that Matt wanted her to pick them up. He said, ‘I’ll give you some pills to give him.’ She said, ‘I can’t do this. I love my husband and I would never hurt him.’ ”

When asked why he believed the two escapees wanted him dead, Mitchell answered, “To get me out of the way. But she said she would never have gone through with it.”

He concluded: “She told me she loved me.”

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